Friday, February 18, 2011

Lines on a Romney

Lady Hamilton courtesy

Quick post tonight. I painted all day up in the deep snow of Cornish New Hampshire, Willard Metcalf land, about a mile from the house where he routinely stayed a hundred years ago. Beautiful but exhausting.

Here are some lines drawn on our portrait. of Lady Ham. The lines have several qualities. They are almost all convex, that is, they are arched shapes, so as to contain the forms within them. They all also face inwards. They have a rhythmic relationship to one another. Rhythmic lines pick up and continue the movement contained in another line to which they relate. Look at the lines of the sleeve wrinkle and the two lines above and to it's right that form the open part of her blouse. They repeat one another in increasing arcs. They also wrap around the forms they describe. Then look at the lines forming the hair behind her, those lines are the opposite of the blouse lines. The lines of her hair rhythmically counterpoint the lines of the blouse and sleeve.

The rhythmic lines give the painting a lively major key feeling. Had the painting been full of angry slashing lines and sharp angles the painting would have given us a different feeling. The message of the painting is carried in the design of the lines that form it, besides in the subject matter. They work together and reinforce one another to describe how the artist feels about his subject. Or at least how he wants us to feel.


Silvio Silvestri said...

Hi Stape,
Do you think the artist thought in terms of convex lines that arched in each direction or " here is a pretty lady with a funny looking dog"? Obviously, the placement to the right, face leading into the painting shows knowledge about technique but I have seen other great artists do line analysis and wondered if they consider that during the painting.

Lucy said...

I was wandering through the Frick today and lo and behold...there she was! Lady Hamilton. It was like seeing an old friend and quite a surprise after spending the past few mornings with her on this blog. Although I can't say she is the best portrait in the Frick, she really glows, and her position on the canvas is unusual.The clouds above her head on the left are not painted, but appear to be brown under painting left showing through. I probably would have passed by a little quicker if I had not been reading about her here. Thanks!

I hope you will post some of those winter paintings from Metcalf country.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think that EVERYTHING is deliberate in an fine painter like Romney. NOTHING GOOD GETS INTO A PAINTING BY ACCIDENT!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I didn't know that was in the Frick I haven't been in there in a long time. I am glad you stopped and visited her. She ended badly, a visit from a friend is good.